PRESS RELEASE: PDF commends Fiji Police Force
The Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) has welcomed the move by the Fiji Police Force for including disability awareness and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into their training session for new officer recruits.
This move has also prompted the Forum to call on all stakeholders and law enforcement agencies in the Pacific Region to follow in the footsteps of the Fiji Police Force in ensuring that their officers have an induction on disability issues and that their work also encompasses the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Forum provided support to the training organized by OHCHR which was carried out by Organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) in Fiji namely the United Blind Persons, Fiji Association of the Deaf, Psychiatric Survivors Association and the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation. This training also enabled the new recruits to understand the important role they play in ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities. The officers received a comprehensive and interactive training from the 4 organizations on what disability is, the convention of the rights of persons with disabilities as well as how to be able to approach and assist a person with disability when they are involved in a case or when they seek assistance from Police officers.
To ensure that their message was successful, the OPDs also presented the new recruits with real life scenarios and they were tested to see whether they were able to implement the learnings of the day.PDF continues to support OPDs in Fiji and the Pacific and calls on the support of regional stakeholders so that the preconditions to disability inclusion such as accessibility, nondiscrimination, community based inclusive development, social protection as well as support services are realized.
It is essential to understand that these preconditions for inclusion for persons with disabilities cuts across various areas such as Development, Disaster Risk Reduction as and any humanitarian efforts. If these pre-conditions are not realized, it will undermine the inclusion of persons with disabilities of all ages in all sectors.
PDF will work with national OPDs in the region to advocate to relevant government departments to ensure that they are optimally equipped and resourced to realise all human rights of all persons with disabilities. The Pacific Disability Forum is a regional civil society organization made up of and for persons with disabilities and works closely with stakeholders and civil society organizations for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.